Psycho-Babble Faith Thread 651552

Shown: posts 1 to 11 of 11. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

I went to the cathedral

Posted by llrrrpp on June 1, 2006, at 15:43:32

To find peace

There was a weakened bird, trying desparately to get out. She kept on running into the stained glass windows. Faith? I thought this was a sanctuary.

 

Re: I went to the cathedral

Posted by Dena on June 8, 2006, at 0:04:07

In reply to I went to the cathedral, posted by llrrrpp on June 1, 2006, at 15:43:32

> To find peace
>
> There was a weakened bird, trying desparately to get out. She kept on running into the stained glass windows. Faith? I thought this was a sanctuary.

Sadly, many of us know how that bird feels -- trapped, while those around us confine us, and insist that we believe we're free... all the while running into the "stained glass masquerade".

I had to leave the institution of church, and realize that Church is who I AM, not a place to go. In the New Testament, the word for church is ekklesia, which in Greek means "called out ones". Those who follow Jesus, Who came to establish a relationship with God, not a religion to observe.

I really like having God outside of the box..!

Shalom, Dena

 

Re: I went to the cathedral

Posted by Toph on July 13, 2006, at 17:35:10

In reply to I went to the cathedral, posted by llrrrpp on June 1, 2006, at 15:43:32

Perhaps you were speaking metaphorically because birds don't fly into stained glass.

http://www.vinsweb.org/raptor-center/rehab-injury-prevention.html

 

Re: I went to the cathedral Toph

Posted by Dena on July 13, 2006, at 18:18:23

In reply to Re: I went to the cathedral, posted by Toph on July 13, 2006, at 17:35:10

> Perhaps you were speaking metaphorically because birds don't fly into stained glass.
>
> http://www.vinsweb.org/raptor-center/rehab-injury-prevention.html

*Very* interesting information! Thanks!

Yes, I was speaking metaphorically... I'll let the OP speak for herself.

I was speaking of the "stained glass masquerade", to mean the unspoken message that we who are religious must hide our true selves (as if God can't handle whom He created...!), must wear masks, pretend to be "fine" no matter what's hurting, and must wear our "Sunday best" along with our "Sunday smiles"... rather than to be real and honest before a God who already knows our hearts, and wants us to reach out to one another in transparency...

Which is one of the reasons why I'm no longer part of the institutional church, and am fellowshipping with those who want a relationship with God, and with one another, but without the religion.

Shalom, Dena

 

Re: I went to the cathedral

Posted by Toph on July 15, 2006, at 8:37:51

In reply to Re: I went to the cathedral Toph, posted by Dena on July 13, 2006, at 18:18:23

I like the idea of wearing bithday suits at church in the garden... ; ) Dena didn't Jesus speak metaphorically in his parables? And why don't we consider other parts of the Bible God-inspired metaphors of Truth?

 

Re: I went to the cathedral

Posted by Dena on July 15, 2006, at 12:16:28

In reply to Re: I went to the cathedral, posted by Toph on July 15, 2006, at 8:37:51

> I like the idea of wearing bithday suits at church in the garden... ; ) Dena didn't Jesus speak metaphorically in his parables? And why don't we consider other parts of the Bible God-inspired metaphors of Truth?

Such deep thoughts!

First, for me, I've come to understand Church to be people... those who follow Him.... rather than "a place to go", it's "a people to be".

And there is a sense (metaphorically speaking, relationally speaking) that God wants us to be "naked and unashamed" (as in the Garden)... free to be who He created us each to be, and relating to one another honestly, without the self-protection ... transparent. Not hiding behind our facades...

It's a beautiful thing when we can each get there, or at least journey towards there, and then to share with another in that same way...! It's rare, but SOOOOOOO worth pursuing and nurturing!


As for how Jesus spoke, yes, He often did so in parables, so that we'd have to "dig" for understanding, and that we'd seek out the hidden meaning. Other times, He was quite direct, even blunt, to the point of offensiveness. It seems to depend on the message, and to the recipient... it seems He treats each of us uniquely, giving us each what we most need... no cookie-cutter situations, but living relationships.

Your question (about how to read the rest of the Bible) resonates with me... I was taught from a rather fundamentalist perspective, which I've since rejected. I've found that biblical interpretation is more art than science ... that there are many ways to get it "off", when taken at face value... I prefer to get as close to the original language as possible, to see how that same word/words were used in other places in Scripture (as well as in other works of literature from the same era), and to understand the historical/cultural context... to whom was this being said, and why...? What was the background?

The Bible employs many types of literature: poetry, metaphor, allegory, history, lists, narratiives, prose, prophesy, etc...

Each type has to be understood, and taken in the manner it was given, rather than reading at face-value (though some is meant to be taken at face value)...

For instance, if we believe that we must read it literally, then when we're told to "be like doves", we should get busy trying to lay eggs..!

For me, I need to employ everything God gave me: my imagination, my intellect, my curiosity and my intuition, when reading the Bible... as well as to rely heavily on Him... allowing the Holy Spirit, who inspired the books of the Bible (using numerous unique human beings), to reveal what I need to know from what I read...

For me, it's quite relational... I ask for His understanding, and interpretation. It's a "living" word, because I find that it applies to me in differing ways, as my needs change, as I mature and my understanding deepens...

I no longer "worship" the Bible... (all to common, sadly), nor do I consider it "inerrant" (which it never calls itself), but I consider it to be a tool to point me to God, and to Jesus, revealing His character and nature, showing me how He's interacted with His creation for millenia, enabling me to get to know Him... and rather than a specific "rule book", I see it more as a way of changing my thinking, renewing my mind, enlightening me as to who He is, and who I'm meant to be...

hoping something useful came from my rambling meanderings...!

Shalom, Dena

 

Re: I went to the cathedral

Posted by Toph on July 15, 2006, at 15:59:59

In reply to Re: I went to the cathedral, posted by Dena on July 15, 2006, at 12:16:28


>
> hoping something useful came from my rambling meanderings...!
>
Thank you Dena. Those appear to be very genuine words of faith uttered by someone with far more knowledge and work on the subject than I have. It may have opened the door a crack for a rational doubter such as myself.

 

Re: I went to the cathedral Toph

Posted by Dena on July 15, 2006, at 16:44:37

In reply to Re: I went to the cathedral, posted by Toph on July 15, 2006, at 15:59:59

>
> >
> > hoping something useful came from my rambling meanderings...!
> >
> Thank you Dena. Those appear to be very genuine words of faith uttered by someone with far more knowledge and work on the subject than I have. It may have opened the door a crack for a rational doubter such as myself.
>
>

I've always taken great comfort in the fact that Jesus never seemed to be fazed or disturbed by other's doubts ...

The one guy who has a demon-possessed son, who brings him to Jesus:

"21Jesus asked the boy's father, 'How long has he been like this?'

'From childhood,' he answered. 22'It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.'

23 'If you can?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for him who believes.'

24Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!' "

And then, Jesus cast out the spirit, and the boy was free.

What I love about that is that the father admitted his ambivalence... he had both a smidgeon of belief, as well as some unbelief... and he recognized that he was powerless to overcome his own unbelief... he asked for Jesus' help. I'm betting that seeing his own son transformed before his eyes helped him to overcome a bit of that unbelief...!

Another example that I love is later on, after His death and resurrection... He's appeared to some of His disciples, but apparently Thomas wasn't with them, and Thomas says he won't believe that He's resurrected unless and until he sees for himself AND puts his own hands in Jesus' wounds...! I like that he's not a pushover, believing everything anyone says, and swallowing stories whole (like so many Christians gullibly do today)... I like that he wants to believe for himself, and not second-hand. I believe that shows integrity...

I'll show you what happens next:

"24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!'
But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.'
26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' 27Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'

28Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!'

29Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'"


What I love about this passage, is that Jesus meets Thomas "where he is", in the midst of his doubting, and gives him what he needs in order to believe. He does seem to imply that those who can believe without "proof" are blessed (& perhaps that's the preferable way to come to Him), He doesn't put Thomas down for needing that proof... doesn't shame him.

I believe He does that for each of us who seek Him... one of my favorte (& reassuring!) verses is, "If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me."

I like that.

I like that He seems to respond to our sincerity, even if it's clouded with doubts and questions, and fears, and reservations... and I believe (& have experienced) that He likes our honesty about those things, rather than some sort of pious denial of ever having those reservations.

He seems to like it when we bring Him, in total vulnerability, that tiny "mustard-seed" sized morsel of scraped-together faith, and hold it out to Him, even with shaking hands and knocking knees, and even dare Him to come through... and make Himself real to us.


I'll spare you anything else resembling a "sermon", since I've given up on sermons in my own life...! (I prefer dialogue between those who are seeking Him, rather than a monologue delivered from one at a distance...)

However, if you're interested, I can recommend a rather unusual book I've just finished: "Searching For God Knows What" by Donald Miller... he writes in an most engaging, heart-baring, painfully honest way that just grabs me!

And Toph, He sees the crack in your door, and while He will never violate your will by shoving it open further, don't be too surprised if you see His welcoming eyes peering in, through that crack, inviting you to peek back, and perchance to engage... He'll let you set the pace.

Shalom, Dena

 

Re: I went to the cathedral Dena

Posted by Toph on July 15, 2006, at 17:53:24

In reply to Re: I went to the cathedral Toph, posted by Dena on July 15, 2006, at 16:44:37

Wow, I guess I am a little ashamed because you seemed to write all that just for me, especially considering that I started off by provoking you a little.

I remember when I separated from my wife and had to leave my child. I wasn't sure who was suffering more me or my son. I couldn't bear the thought of failing at the one most important thing a man can be, a father. Anyway, I started attending this interesting church, Willow Creek, you may have heard of it. I met a woman who for whatever reason wanted to lead me to the Lord. She drove 40 miles from Chicago each week to meet with me at a restaurant where we could read the Bible together. This eventually ended when I began a relationship with a woman at work and I felt somewhat hypocritical studying under these circumstances. But what I wanted to tell you is this Christian's faith was so powerful and infectious. She was a probation officer in Chicago for some of the most dangeous kids imaginable. I asked her how she had the courage to walk into the gang infested projects to confront these families. She told me that her faith gives her a belief that whatever happens is God's will, although I cant remember how she exactly put it. You can't fake that kind of courage or that kind of faith. Though not a believer, I envy anyone who has found peace in this life.

 

Re: I went to the cathedral

Posted by Dena on July 15, 2006, at 18:16:19

In reply to Re: I went to the cathedral Dena, posted by Toph on July 15, 2006, at 17:53:24

In this day and age, when so many Christians (or just those who call themselves Christians), are obnoxious, mean-spirited, and generally give Jesus a bad reputation, it's nice to hear that sommeone just had the courage and integrity to live our her faith and love for Him, and to let it show...

It IS astonishing what any of us will do, or risk, or give, when we're invaded by Him who alters hearts and minds, and lives. I know I'm not the same woman I once was... and that's a GOOD thing!

I'm very impressed by your own heart, Toph (and, I didn't feel the slightest bit provoked by your previous post... you wrote honestly, and I repond to that better than I do to "correct, careful and hyper-religious" words...).

Your last line, "Though not a believer, I envy anyone who has found peace in this life," spoke to me...

I dare to say (& believe) that He who put that yearning for peace within you, hears you... and wants that peace for you even more than you want it for yourself...!

May you find it, and Him... in whatever way He chooses to reveal Himself. May He meet you where you are, and give you what you need.

(P.S. Yes, I'm familiar with Willow Creek church, and Bill Hybels - I've heard some good things coming from there, though I'm in a home church environment now... He leads us where He wants us.)

 

Re: I went to the cathedral

Posted by Toph on July 15, 2006, at 19:07:24

In reply to Re: I went to the cathedral, posted by Dena on July 15, 2006, at 18:16:19

I have listened to what you have said Dena. I am sure that many find wisdom in your company. Don't be so hard on those who find comfort beneath the stained glass. A little light gets through, you know. Maybe we'll talk again sometime.


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